Varnum is pleased to announce that Robert Kass and Kathleen Cieslik have joined the firm’s Estate Planning Team. Both will be based in the firm’s Birmingham office.
“We are pleased to welcome Bob and Kathleen to the firm as part of the strategic expansion of our team in Birmingham,” said Varnum Chair Ron DeWaard. “They bring a wealth of knowledge in their areas of legal expertise as well as strong ties to the community.”
Kass and Cieslik join Varnum from Barris Sott Denn Driker PLLC.
Kass is a veteran estate planner with deep ties to the southeast Michigan community. His practice focuses on estate planning, tax counseling, wealth preservation and planned giving. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) and has been recognized by numerous attorney ranking organizations throughout his career.
Regarded as an expert in topics related to estate planning, charitable giving and taxation, Kass is a frequent speaker and presenter on those topics for the Institute of Continuing Legal Education (ICLE), Michigan Association of CPAs and numerous other organizations.
Kass serves on the professional advisory committees for the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan, the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Foundation, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Detroit Institute of Arts and other major charities.
Cieslik is a trusts and estates attorney focused on creating customized estate plans for a wide range of individuals and multi-generational families, which achieve goals such as tax avoidance, business succession planning and charitable giving. She also provides counsel to individual and corporate fiduciaries regarding the timely and efficient management of trusts and estates, including probate administration when necessary. An experienced litigator, Cieslik also handles controversies and frequently appears in Probate Court to handle both routine and contested matters throughout Southeast Michigan.
Cieslik is a frequent presenter on probate and estate planning matters for ICLE and the Probate and Estate Planning Section of the State Bar of Michigan. She recently provided an in-depth look at charitable giving for the Planned Giving Roundtable of Southeast Michigan.
Banking and finance attorney Michael Romaya, who serves as the lead partner of the Birmingham office, lauded the expanding headcount in the office, which moved to a new location in June after doubling in size over the past three years.
“It’s gratifying to have these renowned professionals join our team,” Romaya said. “We are delighted to welcome great professionals committed to excellence and unwavering client service.”
Varnum’s Estate Planning Team is one of the largest in the state, experienced in the most sophisticated tax and planning techniques. Varnum is one of the few Michigan firms to be ranked by Chambers HNW, which highlights leading professionals in private wealth management in key jurisdictions around the world.